Which State Was Least Great in 2008?

A really cool data table -- with an even cooler graph after the jump -- shows how GDP, jobs and home prices moved in each state last year. How did your state do? If you live in North Dakota, congratulations to both of you for nationwide highs in both home price increase (1.9%) and a GDP boost of 7.3% (...whoa, look out China!). As for the shame of the nation, hang your head Alaska (worst GDP), Arizona (worst job losses by percent), and Nevada (worst home price collapse). But which state did the worst overall? You can probably guess...

It's Florida, which scored the third worst in all three categories: GDP, jobs and home prices, making it the only state to appear in the bottom five in all three. Here's the link again so you can see how your state did.

The WSJ blog that helpfully passed the figures along also concluded that GDP and jobs don't always decline hand in hand by state. I'll agree with Justin Lahart that it's important to look beyond one statistic like GDP as an indicator of "economic health," but when you graph the three numbers together, it looks like this (remember each horizontal data point represents a State's figure):
The graph arranges job losses by state in descending order, so the red line is always moving down. It's clear that GDP-per-state (blue line) and jobs lost-per-state (red line) aren't exactly clasping hands, but they do seem to be following a pretty clear downward trajectory together. With the exception of Alaska (whose surprisingly poor GDP is responsible for the sharp blue downturn at the start of the graph) GDP declines and job losses seem to be walking in the same direction, in the aggregate. It's the home prices (in green) that are leaping around like a Spring stock market.

Without devling too much into demographics (paging resident expert Richard Florida), I'll highlight some interesting outliers.

1) Maryland's GDP grew at a decent 1.7% even as it experienced the country's fifth worst home price collapse.

2) Vermont's job losses were worse that California, home of the apolcalypse, but its GDP grew last year.

3) My dear Alaska: Your GDP took the biggest hit in the country, but you grew your job force and managed to increase your average home value in 2008. The Palin effect?